Learning Enrichment

Learning Enrichment

Philosophy excursion to Ascham School

Last Wednesday 22 May, 37 Year 10 and 11 girls, accompanied by Dr Alison Franks and myself joined hundreds of students from a variety of NSW schools for a student conference at Ascham School. The day was presented by Academy Conferences and was an intensive, mind-stretching day where students were given the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills. The topics included:

  • Knowing What You Know and Don’t Know: Examining epistemology – Julie Arliss
  • Exploring the difference between that which can rationally be said to be ‘proved’ and what it is reasonable to believe.
  • Politics of Tolerance and Freedom – Jeffrey Hodges
  • How tolerance is often used as an end in itself which can lead to immunity from logical scrutiny rather than something we employ in order to promote open discussion.
  • The Psychology of Outstanding Achievement: -It’s not all about IQ! Dr Christopher O’Neill (University of Oxford)
  • Outstanding achievement in anything does not ultimately depend upon innate intelligence or ability but achievement is the result of deliberate effort.
  • The Big Debate: “This house believes that the benefit of cell phones outweighs any alleged risk.”
  • Philosophy, Love, and Relationships – Julie Arliss


Below are some reflections students gave about the day:

“I loved the excursion. I think the information presented required deep thought and I have enjoyed discussing it further with my friends. Definitely the lecture about tolerance opened my eyes to the modern world’s ability to avoid issues. Would love to do more things like this in the future.”– Mia Circosta, Year 11

“I learnt a lot a lot about the psychological science behind the things we’re taught about hard work and practice. The vague advice always seemed to be unfounded but the specifics of evidence and research into the subject I found really fascinating. I’m going to keep in mind how to use deliberate practice and the rule of 10,000 hours to truly become an expert in something for both school and personal interests.”– Grace Redfern, Year 11

“The first talk about epistemology really opened my eyes and was very thought-provoking and I think the Psychology of Outstanding Achievement talk was the most engaging as we learnt how practise, self-control, a growth mindset and other factors can lead to outstanding achievement.”- Emily Stockwell, Year 10

 “Thank you again for another great day, it was extremely valuable and interesting! I loved learning about epistemology and the layers of philosophy. This led to myself and others having some great discussions during the recess and lunch break as we all had differing opinions, but were able to have a great, non-judgemental conversation.” – Tahlia Harris, Year 11

‘The Psychology of Outstanding Achievement  presentation was a very helpful session that taught me how to succeed in any aspect of my learning by having the four step process of deliberate practice, self-control, a growth mindset and motivation. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day for me where I was able to challenge my thinking.” – Kimia Degani, Year 11

“Never before have I thought so deeply about anything related to the topic of epistemology, and so it really got me engaged and questioning about the workings of life. I had a great day and my brain was definitely tired at the end of the day, so thank you for this opportunity!”- Madeline Playford, Year 11

“Overall I had a really great day and have so much more knowledge on philosophy especially how philosophy is present in everyday life. The part about growth mindset and practising has also got me thinking about how I approach situations and my positive or negative perceptions or behaviours towards them. Overall, it was an eye-opening and fascinating day and I would definitely go to again. Thanks again for the amazing opportunity!” – Luka Swain, Year 11

“I loved the day as it made me think deeply about a lot of the topics, and the topics that were covered were super interesting.” – Ashlea Ahmed, Year 10


Mrs Robyn Roffey

Learning Enrichment